Asgreen beats Van der Poel to win Tour of Flanders

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OUDENAARDE, Belgium — Danish cyclist Kasper Asgreen timed his attack perfectly with about 250 meters left and overtook Dutchman Mathieu Van der Poel to win the Tour of Flanders classic for the first time.

Asgreen sat on the defending champion’s wheel entering the last kilometer and then surged ahead of Van der Poel, who tried to resist but eased up just before the line when he knew defeat was inevitable.

“I felt good in the last kilometres still so I decided to try and trust my sprint,” the 26-year-old Elegant-QuickStep rider said. “I decided to stay (on) the wheel, so I could decide when to go. It was a really hard race. We were both on the limit. It was a question of margins at the end.”

Both completed the 254-kilometer (157.5-mile) trek in just over six hours.

The last Dane to win the race was Rolf Sorensen in 1997.

It was Asgreen’s second big win of the season after victory late last month at the E3 Classic, which was also held in the Flanders region of Belgium.

Van der Poel, who rides for the Alpecin-Fenix team, won last year’s exciting race in a photo finish ahead of his former Cyclo-cross rival Wout van Aert of Belgium, who was dropped from the leading group of three riders with 17 kilometers (10.5 miles) to go. He finished third, about 30 seconds behind the front two.

His father Adrie van der Poel won the race in 1986.

Two riders were disqualified for an incident that happened within the first hour of the race. Kazakh Yevgeniy Fedorov and Belgian Otto Vergaerde were kicked out after Vergaerde almost rode into the back of Fedorov when he suddenly suddenly hit the brakes and retaliated by shoulder barging him.

First held in 1913, the race in the Flemish Ardennes region is also known as De Ronde and is one of five classics along with Milan-San Remo, Paris-Roubaix, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Giro di Lombardia.

It features multiple short but punishing climbs – such as the Paterberg and Koppenberg – and is one of the two classics with cobblestone sections along with Paris-Roubaix. The showcase French Classic is postponed until October because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Giro d’Italia to start on former railway line in Abruzzo

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L’AQUILA, Italy — The 2023 edition of the Giro d’Italia will start with an individual time trial on a coastal cycle path that has been recreated from a former railway line in the region of Abruzzo.

At a ceremony in the Abruzzo capital of L’Aquila, race organizers announced that the Grand Tour will run from May 6-28 and begin with an 18.4-kilometer (11.4-mile) time trial on the Adriatic coast.

Almost the entire time trial will be on the spectacular Costa dei Trabocchi cycle path that hugs the coast line before a short climb to the finish in Ortona.

“I am excited at the idea of the Grande Partenza (Big Start) of the Giro in Abruzzo . It is a dream come true, especially with regard to the prologue on the Costa dei Trabocchi,” said Trek-Segafredo cyclist Dario Cataldo, who is from the region.

“I well remember that when the cycle path project was born and I saw the first tracks, I imagined the beauty of a Giro d’Italia passing along the route. It looked perfect.”

Stage 2 is a 204-kilometer (127-mile) leg from Teramo to San Salvo that is hilly in the first part but expected to end in a bunch sprint.

Stage 3 will also start in the Abruzzo region, in Vasto, but it will then head south and will be detailed when the full route is revealed on Oct. 17 in Milan.

The Giro will also return to the region for Stage 7, a daunting climb on the Gran Sasso d’Italia to Campo Imperatore. The high mountain stage, on May 12, will be the edition’s first finish above 2,000 meters.

Australian Jai Hindley won this year’s Giro.

Norway takes gold-medal lead at world road cycling titles

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WOLLONGONG, Australia – Soren Waerenskjold repeated Norway’s gold medal success at the world road cycling championships a day after Tobias Foss finished first in the elite men’s time trial.

Waerenskjold won the men’s under-23 time trial on the second day of the championships with a dominant performance. He clocked 34 minutes, 13.40 seconds over the 28.8-kilometer course to beat Belgian Alec Segaert by 16.34 seconds.

British rider Leo Hayter, the younger brother of elite rider Ethan Hayter, was 24.16 seconds off the pace for the bronze medal.

Foss beat a strong field to win the elite time trial, the biggest win of his career.

Norway has two gold medals, while Dutch ace Ellen van Dijk beat Australian Grace Brown to take out the women’ elite time trial.

The mixed relay time trial is set for Wednesday. The championships conclude on the weekend with the women’s road race on Saturday and the men’s on Sunday.